Birthdays, weddings, and New Year's Day are special anniversaries celebrated all over the world. On such a day, there are representative foods to congratulate each other. For example, the Chinese eat noodles to celebrate birthdays and wish for longevity. In Poland's tradition, they must eat salt and bread on their wedding day. Also, in France, they eat crepes on New Year's Day and wish for good luck of the year. Korea also has celebration foods that have been passed down for a long time. Let's experience Korean culture with congratulations food filled with wishes.
'Miyeok Guk/Seaweed Soup' Celebrating a Birthday
In Korea, people often ask, 'Did you eat Miyeok Guk/Seaweed Soup?' on a birthday because it is always served at the breakfast table on a birthday. Seaweed Soup was originally a food mothers ate after giving birth to help with postpartum care. Seaweed is known to help mothers recover; it purifies the blood and is rich in iron, calcium, and iodine. As a result, a culture of eating Seaweed Soup with the whole family has been created on birthdays to express gratitude to parents and celebrate a child's birth.
Seaweed soup has a deeply savory taste even if you boil it with only seaweed, garlic, and soy sauce. Depending on your preference, meat, fish, shellfish, etc., are sometimes added, but beef is always added to increase its nutritional value for birthdays. Stir-fry beef and seaweed in sesame oil, then pour water and boil. The longer you boil it, the more savory it tastes. Seaweed Soup is more delicious because it contains the love and care of the family. If you had a birthday while traveling in Korea, try a hearty breakfast with a bowl of warm Seaweed Soup.
Bodolmiyeok Sangwangsimni Centlas branch / Sogogi Miyeok Guk/Beef and Seaweed Soup 14,000 won
Centlas Market L-134, 410, Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
11:00-21:00 (Break time 15:00-17:00 / Closed on Sundays)
Exit 1 of Sangwangsimni station
'Janchi Guksu/Banquet Noodles' Indispensable at Weddings
'Janchi Guksu/Banquet Noodles' is a dish with the meaning of celebration even from its name. It is a dish made by boiling thin and long flour noodles in clear broth and topped with garnish such as carrots, pumpkin, and seaweed. The recipe is simple, but the taste is good, so it has been common on feast days since ancient times. This is because it is easy to serve guests After all, you just need to pour the broth on the boiled noodles. In addition, in Korea, wheat was rare in the past, so people ate flour dishes only on special days, so it is a food with a valuable meaning.
Janchi Guksu/Banquet Noodle is especially significant on a wedding day. People who gathered to celebrate the wedding ate Janchi Guksu with the hope that the couple would live a long and prosperous life like long noodles. Modern weddings have changed to a buffet culture, but Janchi Guksu is still featured. So, in Korea, there is a culture of asking, "When will you feed me noodles?" when asking when an acquaintance will marry. Janchi Guksu has a light yet savory taste. Like the name suggests, the warm anchovy broth, softly cooked noodles, and sweet and savory garnish make you feel good.
Sinuihanguksu main restaurant / Janchi Kimchi Guksu/Banquet Kimchi Noodles 6,500 won
Sinuihanguksu, 1F, 320-1, Gwangnaru-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
09:00-23:30 (Closed on Saturdays)
A 12-minute walk from Exit 4 of Children's Grand Park station
'Tteokguk/Sliced Rice Cake Soup' Wishing for a Prosperous Year
In Korea, there is a saying that eating Tteokguk/Sliced Rice Cake Soup makes you one year older. This is because there is a culture of eating Tteokguk as the first food of the new year. Tteokguk is a dish made by boiling flat-cut rice cake sticks in beef bone broth or savory anchovy broth. While Tteokguk boiled with beef bone soup has a deep and heavy taste, Tteokguk boiled with anchovy broth has a light and refreshing taste. Eating one bowl fills your stomach, so you would feel like welcoming a prosperous New Year.
There are several reasons to eat Tteokguk/Sliced Rice Cake Soup on New Year's Day. Garaetteok/Rice Cake Stick, which is used in Tteokguk, is originally a long rice cake and has the meaning of wishing for longevity. When cooking, this rice cake is sliced thin and flat, and its shape resembles a coin, so it is also a food to eat when wishing for wealth. The shape of the white and neat Tteokguk focuses your mind for the year. If you celebrate the New Year while traveling in Korea, try Tteokguk and make a New Year's wish. A year full of luck will come.
Four Seasons Tteokguk Guksu / Sogogi Tteokguk/Beef and Sliced Rice Cake Soup 10,000 won
Pieoseon Market 202, 42, Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
10:00-21:00 (Closed on Sundays)
A 6-minute walk from Exit 5 of Seodaemun station
Party Food to Make a Good Day Better
A culture that can be seen anywhere in the world is when many people gather, enjoy food, and celebrate a joyous event. In Korea, this is called a 'janchi,' which is often related to events with great significance in life, such as first birthdays, weddings, and 60th birthdays. In the West, a potluck party where participants bring their favorite food or drink is common. However, since a janchi in Korea is a private celebration that guests are invited to, the host prepares food and drinks.
The host usually serves guests dishes that are not frequently eaten because making them is complicated or takes a long time and uses expensive ingredients.As in other countries, seafood or meat is used for the main dish, but the difference is that various vegetables are used to take advantage of the characteristics of Korean cuisine. Thanks to the variety of vegetables, Korean party food is characterized as rich and colorful. So there is even an expression that you enjoy it with your eyes first, then with your mouth. We introduce Korean party food that is not only delicious but also nutritious, so please enjoy it using your five senses.
Galbi Jjim/Braised Galbi, the main dish of the banquet
Galbi Jjim/Braised Galbi is the representative menu served at any party. Ribs are a food ingredient that refers to the lean meat attached to the backbone of a cow. Everyone likes it because of its excellent taste, but it has been considered a precious food since ancient times because it is the most expensive part of costly Korean beef. Ribs can be cooked in various ways, and the most popular one in Korea is braised ribs.
Galbi Jjim/Braised Galbi is a dish made by cooking beef ribs with various vegetables such as carrots and onions in a soy sauce-based sauce. Unlike grilled ribs, the meat is steamed for a long time to make it soft, so it is not tough. In addition, the salty yet sweet seasoning seeps deep into the ingredients, making it a favorite among men and women of all ages. Galbi Jjim/Braised Galbi is a nutritious dish that balances meat and various vegetables such as mushrooms, chestnuts, and ginkgo nuts as garnish. If you want to fully enjoy Galbi Jjim, which is rich in taste and nutrients, try mixing the rice with the seasoning after tasting the ingredients. The soup mixed with the vegetables, meat, and sweet seasoning will make you finish a bowl of rice in no time.
1F, 110, Seoulsup IT Valley, 77, Seongsuil-ro, Seongdong-gu, Seoul
A 3-minute walk from Exit 4 of Ttukseom statio
‘Japchae,’ the epitome of harmonious taste
If you've enjoyed Korean food, you've probably come across chewy and transparent noodles. These noodles, which are mainly used as a filling for steamed dishes, soup, and dumplings, are glass noodles made from sweet potato starch. Although it has no special taste, they are used in various dishes due to their elastic texture. It is easy to think that glass noodles just add a chewy texture to food, but sometimes they become the main character of a dish. 'Japchae,' made by adding glass noodles to various vegetables, is a typical example. You can enjoy Japchae as a single menu or a side dish with rice.
Japchae is made by stir-frying carrots, onions, meat, mushrooms, and spinach, then mixing them with boiled glass noodles in soy sauce seasoning. It takes a lot of effort and time to cook all the ingredients separately, but the harmony of color and texture is excellent, so it is served at banquet tables. Thanks to the recipe that uses each ingredient's taste, you can feel the rich flavor. It is also excellent in nutrition as you can consume protein, vitamins, and minerals at once. If you prefer a gastronomic experience where you can feel various charms in one bite, try Japchae, Korea's representative party food. Try the fragrance of various vegetables, chewy glass noodles, and even the savory seasoning embracing it. You can feel pleasure in your mouth as soon as you eat it.
Byeogodongga / Japchae (additional menu) 13,000 won
74-10, Yulgok-ro 3-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul
A 8-minute walk from Exit 1 of Anguk station
Modeum Jeon/Assorted Pancake, Making You Fall in Love with Savory and Diverse tastes
Jeon/Pancake is a dish in which thinly sliced ingredients are coated with flour and egg and fried in a frying pan with oil. In the Joseon Dynasty, oil and flour were precious ingredients, so Jeon could only be eaten on special occasions such as holidays or feast days. The fact that there is no right answer for the ingredients of Jeon is also an attractive factor. Anything can be used, including fish, meat, vegetables, and flowers. This is possible because when making Jeon, seasonings other than salt and pepper are not used. You can feel the ingredients' original and savory taste because the ingredients are lightly seasoned only with salt and pepper and coated with batter.
Modeum Jeon/Assorted Pancake is a variety of Jeon, including Yukjeon/Pan-fried Battered Beef, Dongtae Jeon/Pan-fried Battered Pollack Fillet, and Gochu Jeon/Pan-fried Battered Chili Pepper. The combination of Modeum Jeon changes every time because the ingredients used are different for each household and seasonal ingredients also affect it. However, even if the type of Jeon is different, the core taste remains the same. It's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. That's why it's most delicious to eat right after making it, and when it is very greasy, it's good to have it with soy sauce, to which vinegar and Cheongyang pepper are added. The refreshing and spicy taste helps you finish it without getting tired of it. Above all, Jeon is much better with Makgeolli/Unrefined Rice Wine. It is an indispensable combination of alcohol and food in Korean cuisine, so please try it before leaving Korea. The savory taste and soft aftertaste of Makgeolli will remain in your memory for a long time.
Imone Jeon Restaurant / Modeum Jeon/Assorted Pancake 26,000 won